Most people today are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and the amount of waste they put out. Small businesses are no different. Many are looking to smart waste management solutions and ways they can reduce the amount of waste they generate in the first place. Here are some things you can do to cut down on the amount of waste your business creates:
- Perform a waste audit. It is hard to lower the amount of waste you produce unless you know what kind of waste you are dealing with. To get a better sense of the situation with your trash, you can perform an assessment of the waste. If you are not sure where to start, you can talk to your waste collection service about having a professional come out and assess your situation.
- Start double-sided printing for everything. Your printers all have default settings. Go through all of them and make sure the defaults are set to print documents on the double-sided setting. This will greatly cut down on the amount of paper waste you and your staff produce. While you can recycle paper and even ink cartridges, the fewer you use, the better.
- Reuse paper. So you have a lot of draft materials that need to be printed and proofread? Instead of using new paper, reuse paper that has been printed on one side. This method can also be very helpful when you want to use less paper overall. One of the best smart waste management solutions is just to be smart about how much you create.
- Get out of the habit of printing all your email. When email messages are stored on your server or on the cloud, they are easily searchable. Printing email messages to then keep in a folder is a waste of space and paper. Offices that go paperless actually have better access to the information contained in the email. Get yourself and your staff out of the habit of printing everything.
- Get rid of single-serving items. Disposable cutlery, cups, and plates always end up in a landfill. Getting rid of them may be one of the best smart waste management solutions you can come up with. Office kitchenware is not expensive and you only have to pay for it once. Rather than getting a supply of paper cups and plates and a bevy of plastic forks, knives, and spoons, get an inexpensive set for the office. Make it official company policy that employees need to wash their own dishes.
- Get a water cooler. Studies have shown that water cooler chit chat is actually good for the productivity of an office. That being said, putting in a water cooler and giving your staff reusable water bottles is a great way to cut down on the amount of plastic waste your business produces while encouraging people to drink more water.
- Look into a single-stream recycling program. With single-stream recycling, you only need one recycling bin for metal, plastic, glass, cardboard, and paper. If you are unsure about how to best implement such a program or what can be combined in your area, you can get guidance from your waste collection service.
- Make it clear what bins are for trash and what bins are for recycling. It may seem obvious to you what bins each kind of waste should go into each bin but people really need more obvious signage. Make it as clear as possible where the waste to be recycled needs to go vs. what items will be headed for the landfill.
- Put recycling bins everywhere you have trash bins. As passionate as you may be about recycling in the office (and at home), not everyone feels the same way. As a consequence, you need to make it as easy as possible for people to participate in your recycling program. By placing recycling bins all over your office and next to any trash bins, you can help get your team on the recycling bandwagon.
In today’s world, some of the most smart waste management solutions are not about what to fdo with waste that has been created but what to do to prevent its creation in the first place.